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Home » AVOIDING THE BLURRED LINES: HOW TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE BLOGGING

AVOIDING THE BLURRED LINES: HOW TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE BLOGGING

 

Legal disclosure – I am not a lawyer, nor should anything here be taken as legal advice.

The Four Ways Bloggers Can Get Into Trouble

Not counting trolls – that’s their problem.

  • LIBEL

Publishing a false statement that hurts someone

(Slander is Spoken)

Includes repeating someone else’s libel

Worst Outcome – someone sues you and wins big

Most Likely – public apology and loss of credibility

Best Defense – stick to the truth and make that’s what you’re publishing (do your research)

 

  • INVASION OF PRIVACY

Reasonable expectation of privacy

Mostly a problem with photos

Less of an issue with celebrities and other public figures

Worst Outcome – someone sues you and wins big

Most Likely – public apology and loss of credibility

Best Defense – shoot in public, blur identifying features or get permission in writing

 

  • COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Using someone else’s work without his/her permission or compensation

Fair Use can cover small quotes

Again, mostly a problem with photos (if your sponsor or a media office gives it to you, that’s permission to use it)

Worst Outcome – someone sues you and wins big

Most Likely – you take the material down and loss of credibility

Best Defense – Use your own material or double check free sites or buy the material

 

  • NOT DISCLOSING SPONSORSHIPS OR RELATIONSHIPS

The FTC requires that you disclose it when someone pays you or gives you something to write about it favorably

It’s called fair play – readers have a right to know

Worst Outcome – The Federal Government sues you and wins big

Most Likely – you post the disclosure and loss of credibility

Best Defence – When in doubt, disclose

 

Ultimately, while you can get sued and lose everything, your bigger problem will be losing your credibility. And that is fatal.

RESOURCES –

Definition of Libel (and Defamation) from the Cornell University Law School:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/libel

 

Defininition of Invasion of Privacy from Law.com

http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1021

 

Free Art:

Pexels.com

http://pexels.com

 

Hubspot’s freebies:

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/75-free-stock-photos-im-ht

 

GraphicStock.com – paid subscription site, but has really great 7-day freebie

http://www.graphicstock.com/

 

Information on FTC Disclosure requirements:

The Federal Trade Commission (it’s actually understandable!)

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking

Another perspective:

http://getgood.com/roadmaps/2010/04/02/eleven-urban-myths-about-the-ftc-guidelines-for-endorsements-testimonials/

 

 

 

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